Securing funding is one of the many challenges female African entrepreneurs face. This Bloomberg.com article is a great resource to understanding these obstacles as it highlights the issues women-led companies encounter as well as the pioneers in the space working to address them. This includes the “new breed of gender-focused funds in Africa” creating financing opportunities for women-run businesses.
Stories like that of Anna Njoroge, Ythera Beauty CEO, show the importance of Athena’s work to address the missing middle financing gap. “A lot of private equity want to fund deals starting maybe from about $3 million,” she said. “You have a lot of small businesses that may need $15,000 or $100,000, half a million dollars until they get to the next level.”
Athena was born specifically to meet this need. Our loans are between $10,000 and $150,000 and are tailor-made for Small and Growing Businesses (SGBs) that are too big for microfinance but too small for venture capital. Our goal is to provide the financing SGBs like Ythera need so that they can grow into solid, sustainable businesses.
Athena Global is an impact-oriented lender and advisory firm aimed at meeting the needs of SGBs in emerging markets, with a focus on businesses that are owned/led by women and/or environmentally sustainable. Athena is now replicating in Africa, working to ensure that every viable early-stage business owner has no constraints to capital.